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Establishment & Functioning of Mediation Centers in the State of Uttarakhand

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 ESTABLISHMENT & FUNCTIONING OF MEDIATION CENTRES IN THE STATE OF UTTARAKHAND

The concept of dispute resolution through alternative methods is not new for our State. From past, people living in the hill and small State of Uttarakhand used to settle their disputes themselves peacefully and amicably with the aid of a third party. In view of the amendment to Civil Procedure Code (Section 89 C.P.C.), this method of alternative dispute resolution was institutionalized and become popular also. 

Establishment of Mediation Centres in our State got momentum with the communication dated 22.08.2007 received from Hon’ble Mr. Justice S.B. Sinha, the then Chairman of Mediation & Conciliation Project Committee (MCPC), Supreme Court of India. It was desired by MCPC that details regarding mediation centres opened or to be opened in the State with training to the mediators be furnished to the Committee, so that the project of establishing of mediation centres be initiated in the State. It was communicated to the MCPC that the finalization of the mediation rules are in progress and consequent upon the finalization of these rules, the mediation centres will be opened in the State at district levels. Later, in view of the Hon’ble Supreme Court judgement dated 02.08.2005 in Salem Advocate Bar Association, Tamil Nadu V/s Union of India, AIR 2005 SC 3353, the following rules in this regard were framed and notified in our State on 29.09.2007:-

 

(a)     The Civil Procedure Alternative Dispute Resolution Rules, 2007

(b)     The Civil Procedure Mediation Rules, 2007

 

On Saturday 26th April, 2008, a Workshop in the field of mediation was inaugurated by Hon’ble Mr. Justice Markandey Katju, Judge, Supreme Court of India. Many of the Advocates practising at High Court and District Court Nainital participated in the said Workshop and were sensitized by a team of experts consisting of Hon’ble Mr. Justice Sunil Ambwani, Judge, High Court of Allahabad.

 

Meanwhile, the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA), New Delhi vide its letter dated 12.03.2008 informed that NALSA proposed to established mediation centres in all the 21 High Courts and most of the districts of the country and consequently it was also requested to the High Court by the State Legal Services Authority (SLSA) to identify 8 to 10 districts of the State in which mediation centres can be set-up and made functional. In response, the High Court of Uttarakhand accordingly identified following 8 districts for establishing the mediation centres and the NALSA and SLSA were also informed about it:-

 

1.  Almora

2.  Dehradun

3.  Hardwar

4.  Nainital

5.  Pauri Garhwal

6.  Pithoragarh

7.  Tehri Garhwal

8.  Udham Singh Nagar

In this connection, NALSA vide its letter dated 16.09.2008 allocated a fund of Rs. 16 lakhs to Uttarakhand State Legal Services Authority for the purpose of establishment of mediation centres in the aforesaid 08 districts identified for the purpose. The aforesaid letter dated 16.09.2008 notices, that out of the aforesaid budget, 80% amount is to be utilized on infrastructure facilities of the mediation centres e.g. Computer, Telephone, Fax, Partition etc. and rest of the 20% amount is to be utilized on publicity campaign, honorarium and training etc. In furtherance, the following information was sought from each of the 08 districts, where mediation centres were to be set-up:-

(a) How many Judicial Officers are trained to act as Mediators?

(b) To give details about infrastructure facilities available at the Mediation centres regarding size of room, reception centres, waiting room, furniture etc. and availability of facilities such as drinking water, toilet, rest room etc.

(c)Budgetary demand to make the centres all round effective.

Further, in view of the mediation rules, nominations of the mediators from the districts were also obtained and recently we got a list of selected Advocates/Mediators from 07 districts. In furtherance of these queries, the budgetary demands were also received from the various districts.

S.N. 

       Districts              Budgetary Demand

01

Almora                   

Rs. 2,10,000/-

02

Dehradun                       

Rs. 1,50,000/-

03

Hardwar                       

Rs. 2,00,000/-

04

Pauri Garhwal                

Rs. 9,38,000/-

05

Pithoragarh           

Rs. 1,39,200/-

06

Tehri Garhwal               

Rs. 2,88,750/-

07

Udham Singh Nagar       

Rs. 3,18,000/-   

The aforesaid budgetary demand as received from above mentioned districts was placed with the SLSA alongwith a request to release funds for imparting training to the mediators. SLSA in 1st phase has released Rs. 1 lakh to each of the 08 districts to meet out the infrastructure facilities of the mediation centres. All of the 08 districts are in the process to utilize the funds as per rules and directions, so received from the NALSA.

Apart from the aforesaid 08 identified districts, which have been identified to establish mediation centres, in other remaining 05 districts, the mediation centres, as such, are working within the existing infrastructure. It is also proposed to provide these centres with adequate accommodation and appropriate infrastructure. Permanent set-up of mediation centres in all of the 13 districts of the State is being planned for which the project will commence as soon as sufficient funds are available.

One mediation centre is functional in the High Court at Nainital, which is, being manned by a Judicial Officer of the Uttarakhand Higher Judicial Services, who is a trained mediator and has dealt with many cases referred to the mediation centre. “The process of mediation” for resolving disputes as an alternative dispute resolution is gaining its acceptability and various natures of cases are referred by the High Court to the centre for amicable settlement.

Recently, communications were received from Hon’ble Mr. Justice R.V. Raveendran, Chairman, Mediation and Conciliation Project Committee, requiring details of the implementation of the mediation and conciliation project in the State of Uttarakhand and also requiring High Court to constitute a Monitoring Committee of three Hon’ble Judges. By these communications, it was also suggested that mediation centres should only be set-up in such districts, which have larger pendency or high ratio of commercial/family disputes. The communication so received also clarifies, that mediation training is to be imparted mainly to the Advocates and so far as the judicial officers are concerned, it was suggested that they should be imparted training as referral judges.

In view of these developments, Hon’ble Mr. Justice J.S. Khehar, Chief Justice of Uttarakhand High Court by recording his note dated 23.6.2010, has outlined a long term strategy to make mediation and conciliation project a success in a systematic manner in this State. Since, pendency of cases is not so high and is not a very serious concern for the State of Uttarakhand, a monitoring Committee consisting of one Hon’ble Judge i.e. Hon’ble Mr. Justice B.S. Verma has been constituted in the State. The mediation training programme for the advocates from the 08 selected districts is proposed to be held at Uttarakhand Judicial and Legal Academy (UJALA) very soon, where the trained mediators from the MCPC shall impart training to the abovementioned trainees/advocates. Apart from it training programmes are also being planned for all the referral judges and also for sufficient number of mediators/coordinators.

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